Moody sergeant turns hobby to professional sport

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Frances Locquiao
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
After a knee injury playing basketball, a Moody sergeant turned to a unique, low-impact sport that does not involve a ball.

Staff Sgt. Geoffrey McReynolds, 723rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, would soon discover that playing disc golf would not only be a hobby, but a sport that he would take to the professional level.

"I started playing disc golf to recover from my injury, but I started loving the sport and slowly, it became my passion," he said.

Disc golf is like traditional golf, but instead of a 45-gram ball, players use a Frisbee that weighs between 150-180 grams. Also, the Frisbee is thrown at a basket approximately three feet above the ground.

"The sport is very simple," said Sergeant McReynolds. "If you can throw a Frisbee, then you can definitely play disc golf."

The score is usually determined by the number of throws it takes to get the disc in the basket, like stroke play in golf. In addition, the terminology for scoring in disc golf is the same: eagles, birdies, pars and bogeys. There are also 18 "holes."

"One advice is to keep your calm," said Sergeant McReynolds. "Also, keep in mind the point where you release the disc. These are key elements to scoring high."

Even though players can use one Frisbee to play, professional players, like Sergeant McReynolds, use multiple discs to attain a better score.

"I use different discs to achieve different shots from driving to mid-range shots to putting," he said. "Heavier discs fly further and the shape of the edges of the disc determines what shot it is best for."

Sergeant McReynolds was ranked in the top two nationally in Germany, and was ranked eighth in Europe at one point. He is also part of the Professional Disc Golf Association and has played in many tournaments such as the Augusta Classic and the U.S. Disc Golf Championship.

His passion for the sport motivated him to design and actually build a disc golf course in the local area, which is now located at Freedom Park in Valdosta, Ga.

"Since there was no disc golf course in Valdosta, a group of disc golfers and I decided to persuade the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority to build one," said Sergeant McReynolds. "After the request was granted, I designed a course and it was built within a couple of months after."

Not only did his passion drive him to build a course, Sergeant McReynolds also taught his family to love playing the sport.

"I started playing about 10 years ago when I started dating my husband," said Katrina McReynolds, wife of Sergeant McReynolds. "He had already been playing for a while and got me into it. We are now talking about training me to become a pro player too.

"Even my 3-year-old likes to play," she added. "Now with the new course at Freedom Park, it's a convenient way to get out of the house and get some fresh air while playing with my family."

The disc golf course at Freedom Park is free to use and was designed for all players of all levels from amateur to advanced and professional.

"It was a great sport and anyone can play anytime," said Sergeant McReynolds. "It also allows you to enjoy being outdoors."

Disc golf originated in the 1960s, and the first course was built in 1975 in San Diego, Calif.